Travis McClain’s review:
At long last, I have finally seen the entirety of Leone's "Dollars/Man with No Name" Trilogy. I was initially a bit confused whether Lee Van Cleef was reprising his role from For a Few Dollars More, but quickly cottoned onto the idea that this was a separate character. A shame, because I really enjoyed his performance as Col. Douglas Mortimer. Incidentally, that character having been a Civil War "veteran" suggests that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a prequel to the other two films.
What struck me most about this picture was the morally ambivalent cruelty. In A Fistful of Dollars, "Joe" is an opportunist but he has a code of conduct. In the sequel, he's nearly heroic. Here, though, he's a selfish user. More evidence of the film being a prequel? I can't say, but it would make sense.
Ultimately, I'm not sure I really even have anything to say about this film. I didn't expect it to be nearly 3 hours! There were some interesting sequences and character content, but I wasn't really wowed by this one. It's touted as one of the greatest Westerns ever made, and the single greatest spaghetti Western but I'm of the mind it's not even the greatest of the Dollars Trilogy; I favor For a Few Dollars More.